Peter Gabriel II, also known as “Scratch”, is available in a strictly limited 45 RPM version. We compared it sonically with the German original pressing from 1978.
Which versions of Peter Gabriel II aka. Scratch are we comparing?
The early German pressing of Peter Gabriel II was released in 1978 on the Charisma label. In addition to the 128g record, the simple single sleeve contains a four-page insert with the song lyrics in English. In addition, there was a printed inner sleeve with the German translation of the lyrics. A small harbinger of the coming two albums, which Gabriel even re-recorded as a German album.
The duel is a re-release on Real World Records from 2015. Strictly limited to 10,000 copies, this edition was split into two 198g LPs running at 45rpm and housed in a fold-out cover. Just like the follow-up album Peter Gabriel III, which we reviewed earlier. The higher number of revolutions is supposed to offer sonic advantages. For example, more bass or even a wider dynamic range. We will see.
Some background on Peter Gabriel II aka. Scratch
Peter Gabriel’s second solo album is called simply Peter Gabriel, just like the previous album and the two albums that followed. For better differentiation, they are therefore either numbered consecutively in fan circles (then this would be II) or titled after the cover motif of Hipgnosis (hence “Scratch”, as opposed to “Car” and “Melt”). After Gabriel left Genesis following the tour for The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, he had taken a good step forward in his search for his identity as a solo artist on his second attempt. A song like White Shadow would definitely have found a place on a Genesis album. Together with producer Robert Fripp, he developed his songwriting and the arrangements on many songs in the direction of the idiosyncratic yet crowd-pleasing rock that made him a world star a few years later.
How good do the 1978 and 2015 pressings of Peter Gabriel II sound?
The album begins with a powerful On The Air. The versions differ here, especially in the vocals. The 45 is a little brighter overall and provides better speech intelligibility for the vocals.
With DIY, there is also an audible difference in the bass. The 45 takes Tony Levin’s distinctive bass figure down a notch in the deepest cellar. Also in Indigo, Animal Magic or Exposure, a somewhat stronger bass foundation can be heard on the 45. However, the brighter tuned voice sometimes tips over into the unpleasant.
In terms of the stereo stage, on the other hand, the two versions of Peter Gabriel II do not give each other anything.
How do the level and frequency response of the two pressings differ?
The waveform for On The Air confirms the higher average level for the 45 version. There is much less space between the individual level peaks. In addition, the intro (blue arrows) and the outro (green arrows) were dubbed higher on the 45.
But these differences are not found on every song. The chart for Mother Of Violence, for example, is practically identical for both pressings.
But for most tracks, the 45 version is louder than the original. In the diagram for Exposure, there are no major differences in the intro (blue arrows) and outro (green arrows), unlike in On The Air. On the other hand, the level peaks in the passages in between regularly hit the limiter’s stop on the 45. In the original, the peaks are much more irregular, which leads to a more natural sound.
The frequency spectrogram for On The Air with logarithmic scale shows the differences in the low frequencies. The violet areas show that the 45 is slightly louder in the bass. However, it is also louder overall, which largely explains this deviation.
In the spectrogram with a linear scale, the high frequency ranges can be examined better. For On The Air, the 45 shows much larger upward swings. While the 1978 largely stops above about 15,000, the 45 plays up to over 20,000 hertz.
As clearly as the boost could be heard in the bass of the 45s, it is more likely to be guessed at in the diagram for DIY. The violet areas in the bass are somewhat larger, but as a reminder: the average level is somewhat higher overall.
Hardly distinguishable, on the other hand, are the two spectrograms for DIY with linear scaling. Both in the mids and in the highs, the graph shows almost the same.
With the auxiliary line at 16,000 Hertz, the spectrogram for Exposure again shows that the 1978 is somewhat more restrained in the highs than the 45.
Which pressing of Peter Gabriel II aka. Scratch is better?
Fortunately, the remastering of Peter Gabriel II’s 45RPM version did not involve as much intervention as, say, Peter Gabriel III’s German album. The differences can be summarised as follows: The 45 sounds brighter in some tracks, has a little more bass and has been compressed a little more. The speech intelligibility of the 1978 falls short of the comparative record, but it offers somewhat more dynamics. In the end, the 45 is ahead, but only by a razor-thin margin.
- On The Air
- Mother Of Violence
- A Wonderful Day In A One-Way World
- White Shadow
- Animal Magic
- Flotsam And Jetsam
- Home Sweet Home
|Title||Peter Gabriel (II aka. Scratch)|
|Catalogue number||9124 025||PGLPR2X|
|Add-ons||Printed inner sleeve, |
German text sheet
|Laquer cut by||PolyGram Record Service Hannover||Matt Colton|
|Pressing plant||PolyGram Record Service Hannover||Record Industry|
|Matrix-Runout||10 AA 9124025 1Y 320 10 AA 9124025 2Y 320||PGLPR2X A1 14005 1A 00884108003244 PGLPR2X B1 =MATT@ALCHEMY= 14005 1B 00884108003244 PGLPR2X C1 =MATT@ALCHEMY= 14005 1C 00884108003244 PGLPR2X D1 14005 1D 00884108003244|
|Country of manufacture||Deutschland||Niederlande|